Tuesday, September 10, 2019

OR/WA PCT Part 9

Wed 7/31
Campsite near Trout Lake PCT mile 2226.5 to 2251.2 = 24.7
Left camp  4:56 am, hiked pretty strong (for me) up the climb.  What a gorgeous day!! A lot of sub-alpine zone with sub-alpine fir and lodge pole pine zone a little lower.

In the Cascades on the PCT you hike toward a major peak like Mt Adams, then you hike away from the same peak.  A few days ago, I was at Timberline Lodge near Mt Hood.  Now Mt Hood is south of me and getting more distant each time I have a view.  Mt St Helens is south but still pretty close.  Mt Rainier is north of me, but pretty far away.  

All of the hikers were basking in the scenery and wildflowers--red and orange Indian Paintbrush, purple lupine, purple and white fleabane.


I'm coming to the Lewis River--rocky, gnarly--looking for a place to cross.  Upstream at a log jam are two southbounders who have just crossed the log jam. Coincidence?

Later in the day when I'm tired, I come to a 4-way trail crossing.  Just after taking a necessary break, a woman comes riding a red horse and leading a white.  Without my asking, she tells me where all four trails lead.  Coincidence? 

I do not believe in coincidences or luck.  There is a trail saying, "The trail will provide." which is partly correct.  To me the saying is code for "God provides."

Camp Mates
Camp was a little way off the PCT.  After I was all set up, a young woman came to camp.  Her name was "Little Skittles."  She's from Tacoma and is only the third person I've met who completed the series.  Very impressive. 

I was already in bed when a couple showed up looking to camp.  I got up and talked a few minutes.  They are from New York City.  That was a first for me.  

Thurs 8/1  2251.2 several exposed campsites elevation 7015 ft. -- 2273.8 = 22.6 miles

Lots of elevation gain today.  The Goat Rocks are incredible--sandwiched between Mt Adams and Mt Rainier.  Campsite -- looking south to Mt Adams or looking north to Mt Rainier.  Caretaker (Don) is also camping here. Don, formerly from western Washington, lives in Grapevine, Texas.  He is an ultra-runner (39-100 miles).  Nice guy, strong hiker.

I did not set up the rainfly on the tent so I could see the stars where there is no light pollution.  At some point during the night, I could not see the stars, meaning clouds had rolled in.  I had to get up and put on the rainfly in spite of the wind. I went to Caretaker's campsite and said, "We may be in for bad weather.  We should hike together tomorrow.  How does 5:30 work for you?"  He agreed.

Fri 8/2

We left camp at 5:20 am.  We had a choice - old PCT route or the higher stock route.  The old PCT has more snow and can be icy early in the day, so we took the stock route.

The first four miles from is gnarly, rocky, in places very steep.  This four mile stretch of trail is slow going with good weather.  We didn't have good weather.  I'm not joking when I say that we encountered winds of 70-80 mph.  You're walking through loose rock and fighting the wind. The hiking was intense (you had to focus on each step, plus you had to fight against the wind).  Several times the trail was steep with small loose pebbles.  We both slipped several times.

After topping out at the last climb in this section, I called Becky and asked if she would come and get me.  I needed a shower and I needed laundry done in the worst way.  And I needed to see Becky and Abby, our dog.

The Goat Rocks is three for three, I am zero for three.   I've been in the Goat Rocks three times now--crummy weather every time.  After dropping some elevation, we started getting a light drizzle.  Just after we stopped to put on rain jackets, the rain picked up.

I made it to White Pass around 3:00 pm, Becky showed up forty minutes later.  We drove to Naches where I got a burger, fries, and milkshake.  We were home around 7:30 pm.  Shower--long shower--to take care of layers of dirt on legs and feet and layers of stink.

Sat 8/3

A zero day for me. Becky had hired a guy named Brian to cut the lower limbs on our pine trees.  I took five pick-up loads to the dump and raked up needles, limbs, and pine cones.  I am convinced that I was supposed to be home helping with this project.

I also made arrangements with Harold to take me to White Pass on Sunday.  Harold and I have hiked many, many miles together, but not recently.  I looked forward to reconnecting with Harold.
The plan was to hike from White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass and then on to Stevens Pass before August 15th (Becky's and my wedding anniversary).

Video - don't miss

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